FORMER President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said that it was impossible for his former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, to have stolen $2.1 billion as being alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Responding to questions after his lecture on Youth Entrepreneurship at the famous Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, Dr Jonathan said: “They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.1 billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.1 billion. We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth and you are still saying 2.1 billion; so where did we get the money to buy all those things?
“Yes, there were some issues. Yes, there are still corruption issues but some of it were overblown; I’d say exaggerated and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the National Security Adviser stole $2.1 billion. It is not just possible.”
He said: “One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court, let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately, some judges’ (homes) were also invaded. There are so many things involved and we have to follow up these matters to conclusion before we know the facts.To avoid sounding confrontational with the President Muhammadu Buhari government, Dr. Jonathan said some of the graft cases were still in court, that legal processes should rather be allowed to reveal the facts of the matter.
“I don’t want to be seen as a former president challenging what the sitting government is doing. So I have decided to keep quiet for the court to look into them.”
He said allegations of corruption were not unique to his administration or the country, adding: “You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government …. I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria, there is corruption. If you look at corruption, there is almost no country that is free. The degree varies, the perception varies. Transparency International talks about the way corruption is being perceived in different economies. Why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived? It depends on the issue raised in the media every day.”
Dr Jonathan’s comments elicited mixed views in the polity with some challenging him to offer more details, and others calling on the EFCC to invite him for questioning.
Jonathan should give detailed explanation – TUC
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, said what the former president said over the controversial arms money was different from information available to Nigerians, especially through the media.
Acting Secretary General of TUC, Simeso Amachree, contended that Dr. Jonathan was being economical with words, saying: “From information at our disposal, especially from the media, the former president is being economical with words. It is a matter that should be thoroughly investigated. Everybody involved should be invited for questioning and all efforts should be made to recover the money. Nobody should be spared.
“We are keeping watch on the development and we are insisting that every kobo should be recovered. If the need arises, the former president should be invited to explain how the money was spent. The money does not belong to him. It belongs to the nation and now that the country is in recession, the money would do a lot of good. He should be invited to explain what happened to the money since it was under his watch that the money either got missing or was diverted.”
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